Back in November we decided to collaborate with Ryan’s brother Colin (a multi talented chef and carpenter) to throw a rather elaborate dinner party. Colin and I had been talking about doing such a dinner for so long that I finally decided to nail down a date so we could finally do it! I wanted it to be rather fancy, with restaurant quality food. Colin made Chad and I dinner one time years ago and it was amazing so I knew this dinner would blow all other dinners out of the water.
I decided to channel my inner Emily Gilmore when setting the table and ask my very talented aunt to put together this floral arraignment for me.
I also decided to pull out the crystal glasses and (what turned out to be fake) silverware, you know, because when else does one have the opportunity to use such things.
Hand crafted menus, of course!
Chef Colin in the house!
Colin and I had a lot of discussions about when we wanted the menu to be like. We finally decided on duck and Colin took me to a duck farm in Surrey where we actually got to choose the ducks we would cook for dinner. It was something I had never experienced before and it was rather neat to know exactly where our dinner was coming from. While I didn’t watch the actual slaughter the rest of the process didn’t leave me as squeamish as I thought it might.
Colin used every part of the duck over all of the courses (except dessert) so nothing went to waste. The amount of prep work he did before coming to our house was insane. When you sit down at a restaurant and order a meal, you know that it has taken a great deal of effort to put that plate together, but I never really realized it until I watched it come to life before my eyes.
Our hot bartender for the evening.
We decided to plate all the meals to give that restaurant feel.
Confit Duck Legs with Green Asparagus, Celeriac and local handmade Crisps.
Belgium Endive Salad with BC Pears, Candied Walnuts, Aged Gouda and Rocket tossed in Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Chef Colin preparing the main.
Duck Wellington with Butternut Squash, Haricot Vert, Pearl Onions and a Bacon Croquette served with a Duck Glace Grand Marnier Reduction
Seasonal Crème Brule with Raspberries and Mint
Checking to see if the crystal is genuine. It was.
Overall the dinner was a huge success. We were all stuffed to the gills by the end of the night. It was quite the experience! Hopefully we can make this an annual tradition.
1) I am very excited for all things Christmas this year. It is the first year I have ever wanted to pull out all my decorations in mid November and throw them all over the house. I guess the fact that we put our Christmas lights up so early (but we haven’t turned them on just yet) started the itching process. However, we decided that to be fair to Matteo we wouldn’t decorate the house for Christmas until AFTER his birthday.
2) I wonder how crazy it’s going to be for Matteo to wake up one day and have the whole house covered in lights and sparkles and decorative things. I have a feeling he is going to be obsessed with the tree and I’m going to spend the majority of the day preventing him from attacking it. There will be so much for him to look at, talk about sensory over load!
3) The other night I went to dinner by myself. It was the first time I had ever dined in a restaurant alone. Chad needed a ride to the airport for a work trip, Matteo was at home with his nurse and my dinner plans with a friend fell through. Instead of cancelling all together I decided I would still go even if it meant eating solo. I was totally surprised at how nice the whole experience was. The restaurant was quiet and I had a book with me. I sat and sipped green tea and read and ate sushi and it was such a relaxing night. Almost makes me wish I could do it every week! It also made be realize how thankful I am for having nurses that allow me the opportunity to do things like that.
4) Speaking of nurses, tonight Chad and I are going on a date and I’m so looking forward to dinner out just the two of us. We tend to spend all our free time with family and friend, which we really enjoy, but sometimes you just need time with each other. We will probably also take the opportunity to go out and buy Matteo’s birthday gift which is proving to be rather difficult since the grandmothers stole my idea (!) and with his birthday so close to Christmas it’s hard to plan two gifts so close together. However, I think I have a good idea in mind. We will see if it works out!
5) With Matteo’s birthday creeping up I have gone into craft overload. Well maybe not total overload but reasonable overload? I guess it will be up to his guests to determine how crazy I am. I just have so many great ideas from pintrest and instagram and I want to do them all! I mean your first born only has a first birthday ONCE in his life, right? Most of the projects are done but I came across a new idea today so we will see if I can get that done in time.
6) The theme of his birthday is UNO! Not only because uno means one in Italian and because it is one of my favourite childhood games but also because the colours of the cards are primary colours which are perfect for a kids party. But of course, being who I am, I had to even out all the primary colours with some GREY. I think it will be a fun balance.
7) I am looking forward to seeing what Matteo does when his birthday cake is presented to him. My Aunt is making him a little custom personalized birthday cake (I have very talented and awesome Aunts!). I don’t know if he will be able to blow out his candle. He will most likely try to play with it. And then of course there is the eating of the cake. I’m sure he will enjoy fits fulls of that!
I took advantage of the beautiful Autumn sun we’ve been having to take some shots of Matteo’s room while it was bright and sunny.
We painted his room the colour that it is while we were renovating the house. I knew in my gut that our first baby would be a boy so I was confident with my colour choice back then. As you know it worked out well.
So, without further adieu, I present to you, Matteo’s room!
I added photos to his bulletin board when Matteo first came home and at that point the only photos I had of him were of his hospital stay. Chad dislikes the board because he hates remembering that time but I think it’s important to remember where we were and how fare we’ve come.
A labour of love. I had this idea in my mind for years.
You will notice Matteo’s CPAP machine and oxymitter beside his crib.
I made Matteo’s mobile out of some twigs from the backyard and little animals I found at Chapters.
Always getting into trouble.
I originally saw this canvas on pintrest made out of paint chips but I chose to do this one with scrapbooking paper.
I bought the “Boys are Smelly” pillow in Hawaii many years ago.
I love Matteo’s little room!
I contemplated making Matteo a Halloween costume this year, but I had no real idea as to what I would do and the reality was, would it be worth the time and effort for the 20 minutes he would have it on? Probably not. So I decided if I could find an adorable costume at a discounted price I would go with that option. Lucky for me Chad’s parents were headed down to Vegas last month and Mama Ciavarro snagged me this ridiculously cute crab costume from Carters for 50% off. Perfection!
Luckily Matteo didn’t hate wearing his costume, which was good, because he was too cute for words wearing it.
He didn’t fit in the pot. Probably a good thing I didn’t cook him for dinner ;)
He crawls like a crab so this outfit was kind of perfect. I tried to video tape him crawling in it but he stopped 2 seconds in and started making music with his butt. Not really memory making material.
The Halloween collection grows. I need to get some new cobwebs next year. Oh and maybe some tombstones!
We Trick-or-Treated for all of two seconds. We went to two houses in the neighbourhood (the only two neighbours I have ever talked to who were handing out candy) before my arms almost gave out carrying the 23lbs crab. Then we went to visit my Aunt and Uncle who live 5 minutes away before settling in for an evening of chocolate and fire works. Someone in our neighbourhood went to town in the fireworks department. It was like the Symphony of Fire. It woke Matteo up a few times but overall it wasn’t bad.
We had a great first Halloween! I wonder what Matteo will dress up as next year…
One of the great things about having a kid is I finally have a legitimate reason to do all the “Childlike” things I’ve always wanted to do. Though really, anyone at any age can go to the Pumpkin Patch, it’s just more fun with kids!
We went to the Hazelmere Pumpkin Patch again this year. We first went two years ago with Chad’s niece and nephew and were planning to go last year, but baby Matteo in my belly had a different plan.
This year we went with Ryan, Elise and Evelyn on the search for the perfect pumpkins.
We rode the tracker through the spooky forest to the corn maze. Matteo was very interested in reaching out and trying to eat all the plants.
Pumpkin Super Model
Evelyn and Matteo didn’t like that we stuck them in the path of the sun!
Aww, family shot!
“Hay guys! Let me climb this bale!”
Laughing at Santolo Ryan
Before we left we went to visit the animals in the petting zoo. They saw Chads bags of pumpkins and thought he was coming over to feed them. Adorable!
The weather was perfect and felt more like Summer then Fall, but we’ll take a beautiful sunny day anytime. I’m obsessed with White pumpkins this year and I found the perfect ones to decorate our mantel and table for the holiday season. All that was missing were a couple of pumpkin spiced lattes!